Corneal cross-linking is a treatment for keratoconus.
What does corneal cross-linking involve?
Keratoconus has traditionally been treated with gas permeable (hard) contact lenses. These are often uncomfortable and are not suitable for everyone. They also don’t prevent the keracotonus developing. Up to 25% of cases will require a corneal transplant.
Corneal cross-linking (CCL) is designed to prevent keratoconus from worsening and preserve the existing level of eyesight. It’s generally recommended for patients whose condition has been diagnosed early enough.
Step 1: Your in-depth consultation
Following a detailed assessment, your Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon will discuss the best course of treatment for you. The consultant will be a corneal specialist and will be the same person who carries out your procedure and your checks at follow-up appointments.
Step 2: During your corneal cross-linking procedure
CCL uses vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in the form of highly specialised eye drops and ultra-violet light to stabilise the cornea and actively prevent the condition from progressing. This causes a positive reaction within the corneal tissues, tightening the bonding between the collagen fibres within them and improving their ability to retain the ideal shape of the cornea.
Step 3: After your corneal cross-linking treatment
Your consultant will provide you with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops. You should rest quietly for the remainder of the day, either sleeping or with your eyes closed in a darkened room. Your consultant will see you for a follow-up consultation to check on your progress, assess the results and answer any questions.
The aim of corneal cross-linking is to halt the progression of keratoconus and irregular changes in corneal shape.
Following corneal cross-linking, patients might enjoy life with glasses but without the need for contact lenses, while others can see with a soft contact lens rather than a gas permeable one. Others may continue to wear gas permeable lenses, but find them more comfortable. A small proportion may be unable to report any improvement but still benefit from keratoconus not progressing.
Step 4: Your aftercare
It is important for you to be reviewed by a corneal specialist following your surgery. Your consultant will see you for a follow-up consultation to check on your progress, assess the results and answer any questions you may have. You will be provided with an emergency contact number so that if you do experience any unexpected symptoms, you can contact us.
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